Over the past several months, I have written posts about stereotypes associated with some of the major identities in the LGBTQ+ community; namely, stereotypes associated with identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.
When I started this series, I planned for it to coincide with a number of big events this calendar year, such as the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in June, but I had no idea quite how much this series would coincide with some other major events related to the LGBTQ+ community. For example, in July, Olympian Caster Semenya, an athlete born with intersex traits, was barred from defending her world title in the 800-meter race; that was part of why my post on intersex stereotypes weighed in on whether Semenya was being unfairly treated. I was also unaware that, before the end of this series, the United States Supreme Court would start yet another term where LGBTQ+ issues were up for consideration. There were probably other things that came up between the beginning of this series and now, but those two developments come to my mind.
If anything, these events show that understanding yet rejecting these stereotypes associated with different groups in the LGBTQ+ community is as important as ever. The rights, livelihoods, and lives of many people in the LGBTQ+ community depend on our rejecting such stereotypes.
As I said a few months ago, I will be doing a series
addressing stereotypes for LGBTQ+ people—talking about people who identify
themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, as well as people
who are intersex and asexual. I look forward to continuing through this series.
As I am going in order of the acronyms for LGBTQ (or
LGBTQIA), it is time for me to discuss stereotypes associated with being queer.
But before going into details about those stereotypes, I should start by
talking about what it means to be queer and stereotypes associated with
friends, fellow writers, celebrities and others who are queer.
Let me start by saying that the definition of “queer” is not
one that everyone uses in the same way. The term queer has a history of being
used in a derogatory way, and depending on the generation you come from, you
may still view queer as a derogatory term.
However, more recently, queer has turned into a term that is often
used to either: a) describe all people who are not heterosexual and/or not
b) describe non-heterosexual and/or non-cisgender people who feel that other
LGBTQ+ terms such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, etc. don’t
accurately describe who they are.
Given the multitude of definitions of what it means to
be queer, there are many stereotypes associated with being queer.
Here are a few such stereotypes:
you are queer, you must be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or some
other identity. Not so. As I said in my previous paragraph, one major
reason that some people describe themselves as queer is that terms
such as lesbian or transgender may be too limiting to describe themselves and
All queer people
face the same struggles. Once again, not so. It seems like the people who
oftentimes battle the most for inclusion, even within the LGBTQ+ community,
are queer people of color and queer people with
disabilities. This is truly a case where it is important to understand the
concept of intersectionality, where different forms of
discrimination overlap, combine, and even intersect, with each other. In the
case of queer people of color or queer people with
disabilities, for example, it is important to understand how
being queer and being disabled can overlap and intersect with each
other to result in exclusion among other queer people (for being
disabled) or other disabled people (for being queer).
people are confused about their identity. This stereotype comes from the
fact that many queer people don’t view themselves as specifically any other
identity (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, etc.). Queer does not equal
confused. However, people who are uncertain about their gender or sexual
identity fit under a different “q” term that is sometimes used in the LGBTQ
acronym instead of “queer”: that term is “questioning.”
you don’t look queer…” Even though certain “looks” are still associated with
being queer, the reality is that there is no single way that someone could
possibly “look” queer. Being queer has nothing to do with how one looks.
These, of course, are just a few of the harmful stereotypes associated with being queer. If there are other stereotypes about queer people that should be discussed and/or if anyone wants to expand upon the queer stereotypes mentioned here, please feel free to post a comment below!
Previous posts in my series on LGBTQ+ stereotypes:
Sometimes, this blog is a smorgasbord of social justice issues, and I’m fine with that. However, given this time in history with LGBTQ+ issues, I want to spend a bit more time on LGBTQ+ issues, and particularly stereotypes that go with being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.
To elaborate on the time in history we are at right now
(just to give a quick summary for those who aren’t fully aware), here are some
important LGBTQ+ events going on, all at the same time:
The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is coming up at the end of June. For those who don’t know about this piece of LGBTQ+ history, these riots were a series of violent confrontations between the police and gay people at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. To read more, read this Encyclopedia Britannica piece.
Numerous governments across the world, including the federal government and some state governments in the United States, have tried to undermine or take away LGBTQ+ rights.
Several religious institutions, most notably the Methodist Church, are grappling with LGBTQ+ issues.
The United States Supreme Court is considering a case on whether current federal law bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Given all these events, as well as the fact that so many of
the bad things that happen are the result of some of these LGBTQ+ stereotypes,
it’s important to address those stereotypes here and now.
So, my plan is to dedicate a post a month (or so) to stereotypes with regards to a major group in the LGBTQ+ community. Many of the stereotypes discussed will be ones I’m aware of, but I would definitely encourage my readers (and especially people with firsthand experience of being LGBTQ+) to let me know of stereotypes that I should cover, as well.
This way, by the time the series is done, probably around
December by my calculations, we are hopefully all ready to confront some of
those harmful stereotypes, both within ourselves and others.
 The “q” in LGBTQ could also stand for “questioning.”